Notes from the third Parent Collaboration Committee (PCC), which was held at Northwest Center on April 15th, 2016.
At ChildRoots, we work diligently to create child-centered classrooms. This means that the spaces are clean and safe, the materials offered are developmentally appropriate and presented in ways that are engaging and inviting, and the atmosphere is welcoming to children and parents.
We don’t develop viruses at school. They come in with families. They are left on our door knobs, pens, sink handles. When children come to school sick, they spread illness. We do our best to minimize the spread of infection of communicable diseases in the classroom through routine sanitizing of all classroom materials and handwashing. Handwashing is our first defense against the spread of illness; and staff, children, and parents are expected to wash their hands EVERY TIME they enter a classroom. (The CDC recommends washing for 20 seconds.)
We remind all parents to help us reduce the number of outside germs entering our classrooms by ALWAYS removing your shoes and washing your hands when picking up and dropping off your children.
Diagnosis and Notification of Communicable Ailments/Diseases
ChildRoots teachers and staff are not medical professionals and no observation of symptoms should be considered to be a diagnosis. If your child or a child in your cohort is diagnosed by a health care professional, a notice of diagnosis will be posted on your classroom door and on your classroom Shutterfly website.
Sanitizer vs. Cleaner
We use two solutions to clean in the classroom when children are present. Our cleaner is a simple pH-balanced cleaner (similar to soapy water) that we use throughout the day to clean up messes like art spills, sensory messes, and lunch chaos.
We use a quaternary ammonium disinfectant – labelled “sanitizer” – on any surface that may have come into contact with a body fluid. This includes diaper and toilet areas, food prep counters, tables before meals, mouthed toys, and mystery spots on the floor.
Teachers clean the classroom throughout the day and then more thoroughly at the day’s end. We also employ a janitorial crew who help deep clean the classrooms. For the SE and the NW sites, the cleaners come every evening after hours. For the Fremont site, the cleaner comes 3 times each week; and, for the annex sites, the cleaner comes once a week.
Our teachers work hard to make the classroom beautiful and inviting. The effort our teachers put in to constantly cleaning and sanitizing can make a big difference in the way we all feel about spending time in the space. Dirt and clutter make even the most well-functioning class feel chaotic and disorganized. Who wouldn't enjoy their time more in a space that is beautiful? We also understand that the look of the room conveys to parents that we've got everything under control. One way that we keep on top of cleaning is to create a routine that both teachers stick to every day, where each teacher knows what they’re responsible for and can share accountability for classroom cleanliness. There is a cleaning check list in each classroom that teachers are responsible for completely on a daily basis; and room cleanliness is regularly audited by specialists.
Clutter can be a big problem for a small classroom. We ask our teachers to cull the space of anything that's not there for a purpose. Anything that belongs to a teacher personally should be put away in the teacher cabinet. The exception is that teachers may have water bottles stored where the children store theirs.
The sunscreen we chose to use here at ChildRoots is a product called Tropical Sands. We chose this brand based on its rank in the cosmetics database called Skin Deep. This website provides a breakdown of all the chemicals in a product and assigns each a rating based on levels determined safe (or unsafe) by scientists. We have been using the Tropical Sands sunscreen for nearly 5 years now. It is gluten-free, hypoallergenic, non-fragranced, preservative-free, water resistant, and carries an SPF rating of 30.
We ask that all fair skinned children come to school with sun protection on. We will reapply our sunscreen for every child (whose parents have given permission) once each day after afternoon rest time. We apply to high exposure areas, including face, neck, arms, legs, and tops of feet. Our co-op system greatly eases the big task of lathering 100+ children up each and every day. Not only do we have fewer individual sunscreen bottles to bring to and from school each day; but teachers can more efficiently get children outside, maximizing their big movement time. The co-op has become so popular with both parents and teachers that we’ve decided to permanently integrate the sunscreen applications into our program and are no longer charging a supplementary fee.
We celebrate birthdays in a special way here at ChildRoots. Your primary teacher will send you an email a few weeks before your child’s birthday, asking you to participate in a special birthday circle celebration. At this celebration the children sit in a circle around a fabric sun. The birthday child walks around the circle and the class sings the song “The Earth goes Around the Sun”. We ask parents to bring in a picture, object, or share a special memory about each of the years the child has been alive. This ritual is obviously a little tricky the first 2 years; but, by 3, the children are really invested! You may notice that your specialist has been adding all the children’s birthdays to the classroom calendar on the Shutterfly site.